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Social Mood , Stocks

What Can Time Magazine's Person of the Year Tell You About the Stock Market?

A lot, as shown in this brief chapter from the new book, Socionomic Studies of Society and Culture.

by Robert R. Prechter
Updated: December 07, 2017

Chapter 7

(Originally published January 17, 2007)

For its 2006 "Person of the Year" cover, Time magazine chose no person in particular but an abstract internet user: "You." Immediately we recognized that this cover, celebrating all of humanity, echoes the "I love everyone" spirit that we identified in our 1985 report, "Popular Culture and the Stock Market," as a hallmark of positive social mood extremes, and thus positive extremes in the stock market. Then we read the following lines in an Associated Press report (December 16, 2006):

It was not the first time the magazine went away from naming an actual person for its "Person of the Year." In 1966, the 25-and-under generation was cited; in 1975, American women were named; and in 1982, the computer was chosen.

Figure 1 shows that each of the years in which the magazine refrained from identifying a particular person or persons followed (by no more than 12 months) a major turning point in social mood and the market. The 1966 cover, issued at peak positive mood, was an expression of inclusionism and a focus on youth. As Prechter's Perspective noted, "In every field, women gain dominance in bear markets," and the 1975 cover, published one year after the December 1974 bottom in the stock market, highlighted this theme by celebrating "American Women." Time's cover of 1982, issued at the end of the 16-year bear market in PPI-adjusted terms, featured an inanimate object as Person of the Year, reflecting the feeling of alienation that attends extremes in nega­tive social mood. The magazine's editors were apparently unable to reach a consensus on awarding the title to any member of humanity. Without doing it consciously, Time's editors may once again be reflect­ing the mood of a significant turning point--this time a peak--by honoring the collective "You."


Figure 1

[Real estate prices had peaked nine months before this report and underwent their biggest collapse in U.S. history. Stock prices topped nine months afterward and started their biggest decline since that of 1929-32.]


Suppose you could understand why some celebrities seem to rule the airwaves and movie screens one minute, yet are catapulted to obscurity the next. And why genres of TV shows become popular overnight. How and why trends fluctuate in the attendance of sporting events. Socionomic Studies of Society and Culture rewrites the book on what makes pop culture popular. Each chapter unveils how you can understand -- and sometimes even anticipate -- trends from fast cars to superstars, and from sex to the cineplex.

"I can't believe it."
"Who would have thought?"
"Did you ever think we'd see THIS?"
"I wish I'd seen THAT coming!"

"That" could be anything. Radical politics. A crazy fad. Voter polarization. A sudden shift in purchasing behavior at your business. The emergence of a massive new industry.

A war breaks out.

Another ends in a truce.

Whatever it is, any unforeseen change in our society's order can outrage you, shock you, awe you, present you with opportunities and risks. It can leave you searching for answers.

What if you could have the answers -- objective, evidence-based, well-researched answers?

Imagine scrolling through the news, nodding and saying, "THAT makes sense," and "THAT is right on time." Imagine becoming that unusual person who understands what truly drives today's events; who calmly anticipates change; who welcomes change -- to profit by it and to protect others from it.

You CAN become this person -- by putting an exciting new behavioral approach at your fingertips.

We call it, the Thinking Person's Membership.


The new science of socionomics starts with a simple observation: How people FEEL influences how they will BEHAVE.

At the Socionomics Institute, we look at how the whole society is feeling today – so you can anticipate how society will behave tomorrow. Using various indicators, we track social mood in real time across the globe. You’ll see how changes in social mood shift everything from the songs people want to hear to the leaders they elect; from people’s desire for peace to their hunger for scandals.

This is a rare, awe-inspiring insight. It’s what enables the Institute to help our members stay ahead of new trends that surprise almost everyone else.

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Your Membership Resources Fall Into Three Categories:

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Pioneering Studies in Socionomics (2003) – See how to apply socionomics in this sweeping volume of revealing case studies. Value: $39.

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You get a well-organized, full library of exclusive content. Plus, you get every new piece of content we release while you’re a member, including any book and DVD in digital format, as soon as it’s released; a virtual seat at any online event we host; a copy of any academic paper we release; every episode of our Pop Trends Price Culture videocast; and access to any available recording of speeches we make. Includes our Essential Mood Conference showcasing the most useful talks from the first six years of the Institute’s annual conference.

Total annual value: More than $1,696.


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